About two weeks into Psychology 101, I found out the official name of my obnoxious and cruel inner critic. “Super-ego”, Freud called it. “Her Holiness the Dictator of Shoulds” is perhaps a bit more apt.
On her throne, Madame Dictator sees fit to hyperactively nitpick. She bestows doubt on the things I have yet to do and guilt on the things I have done. Most of all, she opens her mouth to make haughty statements of shame on the things I want desperately to do but lack the courage to initiate. Her Holiness never gets her hands dirty — she gets me to carry out the punishing.
But this morning I refuse the stone the Dictator of Shoulds puts in my hand to throw at ‘bad me’ and I flee.
I flee to the pleasure of walking along my length of park, hands jammed in hoodie where my fingers pick at the fuzzy lint and grow warm. I pad over the muddy gravel with smooth footfall and think on my someday child and I having many crisp walks like this – our eyes devouring the VW van sitting on the curb (a vision of retro orange on dark concrete) and the brazen ducks who come to snack on the old gentleman’s sandwich crumbs. And when I’m home I relish the walk still, wondering how to properly ode this freedom that washes over me as I let my feet and heart ramble away from the tyrant’s court.
Do you have a hyperactive inner critic, too? How do you rebel?
Oh I hear you! Her Holiness,as I will now think of her, is well known to me too!!!
If I can answer “what’s more important, this “should” or just “being” I can usually work out what to do!
Love your blog, it’s great!!!!
The more we can admit it to each other, the softer her nagging voice becomes! Thank you for sharing. (:
Sigh, the Shoulds is what I call the inner critics–sometimes they seem to form a chorus just to tell me how I Should have handled a situation, how I Should behave, or how I Should do that but I’m clearly far too chicken. But I guess the inner dialogue is what makes us writers, right? (as opposed to crazy people?) Thanks for this lovely insight to start my day in chilly Chicago. :)
The sensitivity to that crazy inner dialogue, yes! But I do think it’s a myth that us writers are cursed to insanity and addiction and destructive behavior…we just need to tame the tyrant. (: PS. Stay warm over there!
I drown mine out with the sweet, sexy tunes of mr. Coltrane.
Ooh, I’ll have to try this out.
In the moment there is far too little rebellion, far too much resigned acceptance.
Your suggestion of rebellion, however, strikes a resonant and attractive chord. Why not?
The closest we usually come to rebellion is passive aggressive — a much-later return read, leafing through something we wrote during the previous decade. Herein we discover “perhaps this is not entirely horrible, after all.” Small consolation, and it arrives too late.
We like your ideas here; do we dare apply them?
You have already won the battle in your recognition and rejection of The Foe. But the delicious temptation to listen to and believe “those failure tapes” is always near, now rendering me without confidence to do even some of the most of my enjoyed past events…like entertaining, cooking, Christmas, etc. Your wisdom and courage compel me to follow you out into the skittering falling leaves and sherbet dusky light. xoxox
And you are so brave to admit that the failure tapes are playing — go out and get ’em, girl!